ROSEMONT, Ill. - The Big Ten Conference announced its 2015 men’s soccer preseason coaches poll and players to watch list on Wednesday, with Maryland claiming the top spot among the nine conference teams.
The Terrapins concluded the 2014 campaign with a 13-6-3 record (5-2-1 conference record), and claimed the Big Ten Championship and Tournament titles in their inaugural Big Ten season, while also advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Tournament. Maryland has advanced to the NCAA Tournament 32 times, including 20 of the past 21 seasons.
Indiana checked in at No. 2 in the preseason poll, followed by Penn State at No. 3, Michigan State at No. 4 and Ohio State at No. 5.
The 2015 players to watch list features Penn State’s Connor Maloney, last season’s Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and Indiana’s Grant Lillard, the 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year. The list also includes seven 2014 first-team All-Big Ten honorees, three second-team selections and three All-Freshman Team honorees. Indiana’s Tanner Thompson also earned NSCAA/NCAA Division I Men’s first-team All-America plaudits last season.
Nine honorees from the players to watch list were named Academic All-Big Ten last season, while Northwestern’s Joey Calistri also earned Distinguished Scholar recognition and Maryland’s Chris Odoi-Atsem was recognized as a Sportsmanship Award honoree.
Eight conference teams kick off the 2015 men’s soccer season on Friday, Aug. 28, while Northwestern is set to open its 2015 campaign on Saturday, Aug. 29.
The complete preseason coaches poll and players to watch list can be found below.
BIG TEN MEN’S SOCCER PRESEASON COACHES POLL
3. Penn State
4. Michigan State
5. Ohio State
BIG TEN MEN’S SOCCER PRESEASON PLAYERS TO WATCH
Femi Hollinger-Janzen, Indiana, Sr., Forward
Grant Lillard, Indiana, So., Defense
Tanner Thompson, Indiana, Jr., Midfield
Mael Corboz, Maryland, Sr., Midfield
Tsubasa Endoh, Maryland, Sr., Midfield
Chris Odoi-Atsem, Maryland, Jr., Defense
Evan Louro, Michigan, So., Goalkeeper
Colin McAtee, Michigan, Sr., Midfield
William Mellors-Blair, Michigan, Sr., Forward
Zach Bennett, Michigan State, Sr., Goalkeeper
Zach Carroll, Michigan State, Sr., Defense
Jason Stacy, Michigan State, Sr., Forward
Joey Calistri, Northwestern, Sr., Forward
Layth Masri, Northwestern, Sr., Defense/Midfield
Cole Missimo, Northwestern, Sr., Midfield
Kyle Culbertson, Ohio State, Sr., Midfield
Liam Doyle, Ohio State, Sr., Defense
Danny Jensen, Ohio State, Jr., Forward
Matt Bersano, Penn State, Sr., Goalkeeper
Brian James, Penn State, Sr., Midfield
Connor Maloney, Penn State, Jr., Forward
Mitchell Lurie, Rutgers, Sr., Defense
Mitchell Taintor, Rutgers, Sr., Midfield
Jason Wright, Rutgers, So., Forward
Tom Barlow, Wisconsin, So., Forward
Sam Brotherton, Wisconsin, Fr., Defense
Drew Conner, Wisconsin, Sr., Midfield